The weekly lesson only takes up a small amount of time that students spend at the piano, majority of the time they’re on their own practicing. This is where bad posture and practice habits form. I spend time in lessons showing students both how to practice at home and correcting their posture and usually by the next week the same posture problems are reappearing. Our minds are always so busy while we practice it can be very difficult to focus on our posture at the same time. Sometimes what is really need is a tap on the shoulder show us we’re doing something wrong, unfortunately I am only able to do this in our lessons and at home the student is largely on their own.
Lately I’ve been thinking of ways to get parents more involved in the music education of their children. Fortunately you don’t need any musical knowledge to understand what constitutes correct posture at the piano. I stumbled across this great posture infograph at Hoffman Academy that I now give to the parents of all of my piano students.It fits perfectly on a double sided A4 page and is really easy walk through at the end of the lesson!
I encourage parents to pop in on their child’s practice sessions whenever they get a chance, silently consult the infograph and if their are any bad posture point them out encouragingly. It’s not necessary to focus solely on the negative, don’t be afraid to tell your child what they’re doing well!
There are many other ways to encourage parents to get involved, here’s a few!
- Discuss piano lesson with student. Ask questions about what they learned! What did they learn that is new? Can they explain a particular concept we’ve been focusing on? There’s plenty of material to ask about in the weekly lesson notes.
- Ask you child to perform for you from time to time. One of the great things about learning music is all the great benefits that can come from performing, like enhanced self-confidence! Encourage your child to play a piece for you from time to time. Get them to try play from start to finish without stopping, this way they get to practice performing in a comfortable and supportive environment.
- Listen to how your child practices. As important as it is for your child to practice performing from time to time, their practice schedule shouldn’t consist of only playing pieces from start to finish. If you hear this happening ask your child to show you what parts they’re having trouble playing and explain to you why they’re difficult. Then ask how they can practice this section differently. We go over this in the lesson, so they will be able to answer these questions without much prompting. Sometimes we just need a little help keeping on track!